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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 59 - A Serendipitous Moment

For many years one of my hobbies has been tracing family history. It probably started when I was very young and loved to look up historical royal families.

At any rate, I started tracing my own family just after college and found many of the branches quite quickly. One of them, however, eluded me.

It seems that my mother’s mother’s mother was from the Walker family. I traced them back to Vermont in the 1790s but could find nothing else on them. All I knew was that the oldest ancestor was Elijah Walker and his wife Lucina. There was nothing on Lucina.

I remember working on this for quite a while to no avail. It seemed that all the traditional routes were failing. No matter what I did, the records simply weren’t there.

This is where the serendipitous moment arrived. In genealogical research, random searching for people is usually not effective. Usually it is best to stick to the records in the area you are searching.

One day, in frustration, I tossed that idea aside since it had produced nothing. Then I picked up the index to the New England Genealogical and Biographical Record from a century or more ago and randomly looked for “Elijah Walker” just for the heck of it.

There was one entry for 50 years of publications. Now I believe mine was not the only Elijah Walker in New England in those days so the chance of this being an entry about mine was slim. I looked anyway.

That reference happened to be part of the history of the town of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, near Springfield, in particular a record of the Colton family of that town. On that page it said, “Lucina Colton married Elijah Walker of Vershire, Vermont,” the exact location my ancestor was from.

So, there in an obscure reference published more that a century ago I found the answer to my question because of a chance encounter with an ancient index.

This happens to be a family research story but in many ways it is about our lives as well. How many times have we almost given up on a quest only to find what we want as the result of a chance encounter?

Serendipity is a powerful presence in all of our lives. Be ready for those chance moments that could change yours.

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